Ireland Coast 2 Coast Charity Cycle Ride Challenge 2004
Firstly thanks to all those kind and generous people that sponsored me - much appreciated. If you could send cheques payable to 'Austen Jones' to 1 Oban Close, Tingley, Wakefield, WF3 1JU I would be very grateful - so far people have pledged / I have collected approx £270 for the Diabetes Federation of Ireland and the British Heart Foundation - so give yourself a pat on the back ;-)
Day 1: Outward Journey from Maynooth to Gallway
OK, so how was it? WelI the 8 hours of travelling in cars, trains and a ferry just to get to the starting point of the ride at Maynooth (near Dublin) was tiring but that was the easy bit! After a little socialising in the pub with some of the other riders it was early (ish) to bed and then up at 6:30a.m. for a light breakfast - seeing all the other riders there with team shirts on was a little worrying and this feeling worsened when I realised that the £90 cost of my bike represented probably only 10% of the value of the average racer on display. Gulp.
There were meant to be about 100 people doing the ride but only about 50 turned up which meant that the four different speed groups (12mph, 14mph, 16mph and 18mph) merged into two groups i.e. 16mph and 18mph - given that I had signed up for the 14mph I knew that this would prove to be 'interesting' for me.
Stops were planned every 30 miles or so and this was a little longer between stops than I was used to so I decided to have a puncture for a bit of a break - unfortunately this was on quite a steep gravel covered downhill which made coming to a stop intact quite difficult. Inner tube changed I hopped back on to the first drink stop joking with a fellow rider that the last 90 miles are always the worst! Quick drink and a banana and I was off again getting pulled along by a pack of about 15 riders - the joys of slip-streaming!
At just shy of the 60 mile mark we stopped at a pub for lunch. I decided not to have any Guinness. Instead we had the rather unusal cycling food of soup and sandwiches, not that I was complaining. Up until the lunch roads were quite good condition, relatively flat, weather was fine and scenery was very lush and rolling.
Due to problems with my bike I was the last one to leave which meant I started about 3 minutes behind the pack... but could I catch them up? No, not even close. I suffered badly from being on my own and not having the pack to shield me from the 15 mph head-wind - the next 30 miles very very very unpleasant. And that was after the nurofen! About 10 miles from the afternoon drink stop a wasp decided to fly inside my cycle helmet and sting me a couple of time on the head. While this was very sore, looking back I have to understand that the guys in the van behind me must have been close to wetting themselves with laughter at my frantic attempts to stop, bang my head like a lunatic, tear my helmet off and then repeatedly stamp on the offending insect while holding my head.
At the 90 mile drink stop I was a wreck and just wanted it over with. The last 30 miles of the day into Gallway were just a long hard grind, sore head, aching all over (and I do mean all over) and mentally drained. The seemingly impossible finally happened... I arrived in Gallway - woohoo!! Hang on, that's only half way, I'd have to cycle all the way back again the next day!
Went out for a bite to eat. And then another bite to eat. A pint of Guinness was much appreciated too and Gallway really is a very nice place, very cosmopolitan, pedestrianised centre, lots of street performers / musicians, relaxed atmosphere and plenty of bustling bars to choose from - it was a lovely evening too which I guess helped. With 120 miles and 2 pints of guinness under my belt I slept like a baby...
If you sponsored me - much appreciated - and even if you didn't you can still show your support for the Diabetes Federation of Ireland and the British Heart Foundation by posting your cheque payable to 'Austen Jones' to 1 Oban Close, Tingley, Wakefield, WF3 1JU I - thank you! As I said before I should be collecting approx £270 which is pretty good (even if only just over £1 per mile!!)
Page updated: March 2007 by Austen Jones